Stephen Kintz
Feb 12, 2012

Inhalable caffeine and the future of breathing

Breathing only air is passé.  People have been breathing air forever. People breathe air every day, all day. It is boring. So why are people only breathing air? Are there no other wonderful substances that could enhance our drab breathing experience? David Edwards, a Harvard professor and founder of Le Laboratoire, seems to think that it is possible to enhance breathing. So, he developed Aeroshot.
Aeroshot is a lime flavored breathable caffeine powder contained within a patented lipstick-like container marketed with the phrase "pure energy." Each container has about has much caffeine as an 8 ounce cup of coffee -- around 100mg. Also, for the conscious calorie counter, the lime flavored caffeine powder has zero calories and provides a nice boost of vitamin B.  Don’t allow the lime flavoring to make you think it’s sweet or sour. Caffeine is naturally bitter, so most consumers report a bitter flavor. This energy boosting breathable experience could be yours for a low cost of $2.99.

Of course, there are some other concerns. Aeroshot is meant to compete with energy drinks, and there is a growing body of research suggesting these drinks can be dangerous. Researchers have noticed increased hospitalization and seizures among drinkers of energy drinks. Also, even though the company claims Aeroshot is not meant for clubbing or binge drinking, research published in the Nutrition Journal suggests that the majority of college aged energy drink users use the drinks to consume more alcohol. Aeroshot's convenient breathable form might make it easier for consumers to injest more caffeine and drink more alcohol.

Unfortunately, I am unsure of who will find Aeroshot useful other than binge drinkers. The producers claim that this is a product for anyone who needs a pick-me-up, especially in places where liquids cannot go. Yet caffeine is everywhere. Plus, caffeine pills are smaller, more portable and provide more caffeine than the lipstick size container.

Do not allow the feasibility of Aeroshot to worry you. Edwards has more ideas to enhance your breathing experience other than inhalable caffeine. He is also the developer of breathable foods.

Breathable foods were developed by Edwards and Artscience Labs. The products are basically a line of powdered or gas foods that can be inhaled. The first product from Artscience Labs, Le Whif Chocolate, was a breathable chocolate with zero calories. Now, they plan to produce a range of products from Le Whif Green Tea to Le Whaf Drinks. The ultimate goal appears to be to eliminate the troubling time it takes to chew.

So is the future full of unchewable, inhalable food? It appears that Edwards is striving for such a future, but there are serious questions as to whether it is possible. For starters, most people are traditionalists when it comes to food intake. Also, Le Whif Chocolate does not provide any of the fats and sugars that normally accompany chocolate. If the product is used as a healthy way to combat cravings, the lack of fats and sugars might send the body into starvation mode, which would only increase cravings. Another potential problem is the subtle flavor that many consumers reported from Le Whif Chocolate. If someone wants chocolate, they want chocolate. They do not want a subtle hint of chocolate powder.

Will Edwards try to develop a full line of breathable foods that come loaded with nutrients and calories? I don’t know. I cannot see this being much more than a novelty item (though a really cool novelty item). However, if fully breathable foods are created, I could see a potential use in the military.  

So you might be wondering if Edwards has created any practical inhalable products, and the answer is a resounding yes. He has developed several inhalable medical products that should provide relief to millions of people and potential save millions of lives.

Most people have heard of nasal flu vaccines. These flu vaccines are able to save lives without any of the problems associated with needles. More importantly for the needle squeamish, nasal vaccines can provide the flu vaccine without a needle piercing the skin. Edwards has developed a similar drug delivery system to combat diabetes. This led to the formation of the company AIR, which has subsequently been purchased by Alkermes, Inc. The inhalable product is created by packing insulin into a size of less than five microns. This small size allows the drug to easily pass into the respiratory system and circulate throughout the body. A study demonstrated that the inhalable insulin was able to sustain blood sugar levels for around 96 hours. The same research by Edwards is being used to treat respiratory diseases. This treatment involves inhaling natural salts that slow down respiratory infections and inflammation. This gives the immune system time to react. There is good reason to believe that many more drugs (such as hormones and some antibiotics) will be packed into a simple and more convenient inhalable form.

Very soon, people might be inhaling their insulin or evening meals. If you are a gambler, I would bet on the inhalable medicine before the inhalable pork chop. Of course, anything seems possible when inhalable tea and chocolate already exist. The world of breathing is not just for air anymore. Breathing is now an enhanced and technologically advanced experience.